The common wisdom is that retirement is pretty much a period of doom-and-gloom, thanks to worries over money, and that retirees are selling their homes to downsize and save a buck. But a new survey from Merrill Lynch and Age Wave has come up with some findings that don't quite fit those stereotypes. Not in the least.

1. Freedom to choose

You might think older people are pretty much constrained by family obligations or health concerns to live in certain areas, but they'd beg to differ with you. In fact, the percentage of retirees saying that they are now free to live pretty much anywhere they want to increases steadily as they age. In fact, they're twice as likely to say so as people who aren't retired and who are still tied to the twin obligations of workplace location and family needs. 

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